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In times of despair, utopias are preferable to dystopias

10 February 2017 - 9:00am
Friday, February 10, 2017

There's something touching in how sales of 1984 have risen since Trump. Amazon is out of stock. Other dystopian novels, like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, are doing well. It's one way to deal with a shock to the system: buy a book; then, basically, let it sit since it probably won't have much to do with what's spooking you on CNN. It's about the illusion of control.

Dystopias are warnings, utopias are yearnings. They keep chugging ahead into the future, unlike dystopias, which are meant to forewarn but can as easily depress and demobilize.

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Trudeau's broken promise on electoral reform may cost him the next election

10 February 2017 - 8:42am
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have already burned the bridges he built, both to the left and to the right, that won him a majority government in 2015. As burned bridges pile up, Trudeau's re-election may already be out of reach

Former Alberta premier Dave Hancock to be the subject of a hanging Monday afternoon at the Legislature

10 February 2017 - 12:59am

"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

As predicted in this space three years ago, it was only a matter of time before we Albertans had added to our premier provincial collection new portraits of first ministers Alison Redford and Dave Hancock.

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The Quebec mosque attack victims spent their lives vilified as terrorists. Then they were murdered by one.

9 February 2017 - 6:33pm

A radicalized, right-wing, white Trump supporter walks into a place of worship and terrorizes a room full of innocent Muslim men as they submit in peace and prayer. How depressingly ironic! These men became the victims of the very label that the media and public use to condemn them: terrorist.

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What will be the worst consequence of Trudeau's broken promise on electoral reform?

9 February 2017 - 5:24pm

After months of delay, cynical maneuvering and two female cabinet ministers tossed under the Liberal bus of "Real Change," Justin Trudeau finally told the ministry of democratic institutions that "changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate." Surprise!

Karl Nerenberg calls this shameless about-face "a gift to the right." He's not wrong. Greg Squires says that this betrayal of the soft left-wing voters that delivered Trudeau his majority has already cost him re-election in 2019.

Choices Two promising young female cabinet ministers were thrown under the bus over a file the Liberals never took seriously. The Conservatives could win another false majority and usher in another Harper-like decade. Justin Trudeau will lose his majority and Canada won't be cool anymore :( Deep-seated cynicism will take root in the Canadian electorate, making it possible for a radical right-wing demagogue to ride a wave of populism to victory in Canada. Electoral reform was never closer to implementation at the federal level -- and now the chance is gone. All of the above None of the above For the last time: no one cares about electoral reform.

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No, there is no such thing as 'reverse' terrorism

9 February 2017 - 4:32pm

In the aftermath of the Quebec City mosque attack, we have heard and read all kinds of language to describe the event.  "Hate crime," "mass murder" and "terrorist attack" were all used and they all, to some extent, do define what has happened. However, one confused TVA anchor said on air that this was a case of "reverse" terrorism. As if terrorism had only one form: Muslim against others.

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Songs Upon the Rivers

9 February 2017 - 11:35am
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The history of exploration in North America is a tapestry of cultural interactions. The children of Indigenous communities and European settlers eventually established an identity distinct from their ancestors. Songs Upon the Rivers collects information from primary sources and long-lost documents to map the distinct identity of French-Canadiens and Metis.

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Silenced twice by U.S. Senate, Coretta Scott King's words live on

9 February 2017 - 9:19am
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was interrupted while reading the words of Coretta Scott King on the U.S. Senate floor this week. Warren was reading a 1986 letter King wrote in opposition to the confirmation of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, then a U.S. attorney in Alabama, to a federal district judgeship. In a rare decision, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions. Now, as the Senate debated a new confirmation of Sen. Sessions for the position of U.S. attorney general, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., silenced Warren shortly after she read Coretta Scott King's words, invoking an obscure Senate rule against impugning colleagues. She was told to sit down and was barred from speaking further during the ongoing debate on Sessions.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was interrupted while reading the words of Coretta Scott King on the U.S. Senate floor this week.

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Colombia's resistance to Canadian mining interests is multi-faceted and fearless

9 February 2017 - 9:03am
Indigenous people, Afro-Colombians, union leaders, farmers, students and academics in Colombia confront Canadian mining companies. Colombia's resistance to Canadian mining interests is multi-faceted and fearless

Brian Jean makes it clear, any new Alberta conservative party will be the Wildrose Party

9 February 2017 - 12:57am

In case you're still wondering how this unite-the-right thing is supposed to work, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has clarified matters for you.

The party that emerges when the dust has settled will be the Wildrose Party, he told the world earlier this week. The Progressive Conservatives will be no more -- although, certainly, the "new" Wildrose party (which will not be new at all, of course) will soon try to rebrand itself "conservative."

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Corporations: For better or worse

8 February 2017 - 8:38pm
Corporations: For Better or Worse

Stefan starts the show sadly confirming a suspicion we've had since last year that the Prime Minister has no apparent intention to stand up for one of his most critical campaign promises: electoral reform. On the upside, Stefan also updates us on the rapid scale at which battery power storage which is critical to the renewable revolution is growing in 2017.

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As burned bridges pile up, Trudeau's re-election may already be out of reach

8 February 2017 - 6:47pm

With last week's announcement that the Liberals are abandoning their promise of electoral reform, coupled with their out-of-control deficit spending, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have already burned the bridges he built, both to the left and to the right, that won him a majority government in 2015.  

The Liberals cannot win a majority in 2019 without the support they siphoned from the Greens and the NDP on the left, nor without the soft conservatives and Red Tories who turned to them after a decade of Stephen Harper. After all, as much as we view Trudeau's 2015 majority as a resounding victory, the Liberals captured less than 40 per cent of the popular vote. Subtract five per cent and all bets are off.

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Make Montreal a Sanctuary City !

8 February 2017 - 4:33pm

Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton have become "Sanctuary Cities." So have 37 cities in the United States. It's time for Montreal to join the movement.

The horrific crime that took six lives in Quebec City last Sunday night is a wake-up call for us all. No longer can we pretend that there is no Islamophobia in Quebec. Unfortunately, hate-mongering goes on daily. Sometimes in an open, heinous and criminal fashion, as witnessed at the Quebec City Mosque. Other times in a more hidden fashion, under the guise of a debate on face-coverings in public.

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'They're People Not Terrorists' photo campaign challenges prejudices behind U.S. travel ban

8 February 2017 - 2:38pm
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Photographer Adam Zivojinovic's work may be familiar to those aware of his project #LOVEISLOVEISLOVE, which he launched after the Orlando nightclub shooting. It featured tender, happy portraits of LGTBQ couples.

The Toronto-based photographer is now launching, on Friday, a new project in the wake of the U.S. travel ban that targets people from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Toronto photographer Adam Zivojinovic is launching a new project to counter hate and prejudice in the wake of the U.S. travel ban that targets people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

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The social media fight against Trump is a modern battle of the presses

8 February 2017 - 9:46am
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

At first glance there would seem to be little that would connect Donald Trump with Martin Luther, but stick with me here.

In 1517 Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation with his 95 Theses. This document railed against Papal indulgences, which the faithful could buy as a sort of "Get Out of Jail Free" card for sin.

The later Reformation also held that Christian scripture is the only source of the rules for worship. There was no need for priests to get in the way. This, of course, went over in Rome like a fart in a spacesuit. 

The most powerful battalions battling against Trump's frightening presidency -- fuelled by the hard work of the press -- are fighting it out on social media.

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KAIROS releases social justice wish list for Canada in 2017

8 February 2017 - 9:37am
Last January, KAIROS released its wish list for the year -- 10-plus-one hopes for the federal government and the provinces to fulfill. 11 wishes for 2017 that will make Canada greener, more just and more equal

Adam Sneyd on 'Cotton,' globalization, commodities and clothing poverty

8 February 2017 - 8:50am
Adam Sneyd on Cotton, Globalization and Clothing Poverty.

Adam and Face2Face host David Peck talk about his new book Cotton, its empire, commodities and politics, "clothing poverty" and anti-globalization and why we need to be concerned about how the world works.

Biography

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Defending social movements against digital threats

8 February 2017 - 8:37am
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On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, Scott Neigh speaks with Dmitri Vitaliev. He is a co-founder and director of eQualit.ie, a non-profit based in Montreal that helps human rights organizations and social movements -- including some of the world's most prominent -- deal with increasingly crucial questions of online security and digital privacy.

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In subversive move, Edmonton school board chair calls for optional Catholic programs in public schools

8 February 2017 - 12:42am

In a brilliantly subversive move, Michael Janz, chair of the Edmonton Public School Board, has publicly wondered in a blog post if the board he leads should set up its own optional Catholic program.

After all, the Edmonton Public School Board has a pretty long and successful record of running faith-based programs under its auspices, Janz noted mischievously on Monday in the personal blog he publishes online. There's a Protestant Christian program, a Jewish program and a Muslim program, all operating under the board's auspices with proper attention to standards and curricula.

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Understanding climate change means reading beyond headlines

7 February 2017 - 6:27pm

Seeing terms like "post-truth" and "alternative facts" gain traction in the news convinces me that politicians, media workers and readers could benefit from a refresher course in how science helps us understand the world. Reporting on science is difficult at the best of times. Trying to communicate complex ideas and distill entire studies into eye-catching headlines and brief stories can open the door to misinformation and limited understanding.

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